Defiant Spaces: 60 Years of Queer Organizations in L.A.

June 7, 2012 to July 5, 2012
Los Angeles City Hall Bridge Gallery
201 North Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

3rd Floor

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 7, 2012, 6:30-8pm

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives presents Defiant Spaces: 60 Years of Queer Organizations in L.A. at the Los Angeles City Hall, an exhibition exploring the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) organizations in the Los Angeles region. The exhibition consists of a timeline spread across numerous printed panels, accompanied by a selection of reproduced archival documents and historical banners and signs from the collections at ONE Archives. Defiant Spaces is presented in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles’ LGBT Heritage Month.

Presented as a 60-year chronology, the exhibition includes information on over 40 organizations, both well known and obscure, founded in Los Angeles. Beginning with the foundational organizing of homophile groups such at the Mattachine and ONE Inc. in the 1950s and 60s, the exhibition chronicles organizations that arose from the Gay Liberation and Women’s movements in the 1970s, and the collective response to AIDS in the 1980s and 90s.

The organizations profiled in this exhibition carved out spaces for queer individuals to come together around shared conditions of oppression. Whether their mission was to combat the isolation of the closet, advocate for the recognition of queer individuals in the public sphere, fight homophobia and/or transphobia in social institutions, create safe spaces for religious observation, or provide much needed services, these organizations reshaped the cultural landscape of Los Angeles and contributed to the city’s vibrant queer community. While some of the organizations are well known today, such as the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center or AIDS Project Los Angeles, Defiant Spaces highlights the grassroots beginning of these major institutions.

Organizations featured in the exhibition include: the Mattachine Society (founded in 1951), ONE Inc. (1952), the Daughters of Bilitis (L.A. chapter, 1958), Personal Rights in Defense and Education (1966), the Metropolitan Community Church (1968), Christopher Street West (1970), the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center (1971), The Woman’s Building (1973), the Los Angeles Stonewall Democrats Club (1975), the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter Los Angeles (1976), the Gay Men’s Chorus (1979), Asian/Pacific Gays and Friends (1980), AIDS Project Los Angeles (1982), Project 10 (1984), ACT UP/LA (1987), Bienestar (1989), and the Los Angeles Gender Center (1992), among others. Many of the materials in this exhibition have been culled from the collections at ONE Archives, the largest repository of LGBTQ material in the world, while other materials have been provided by the profiled organizations.

On June 7, 2012, the Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa will host the opening reception for Defiant Spaces.

Defiant Spaces: 60 Years of Queer Organizations in L.A. is organized by David Frantz, Curator at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles’ LGBT Heritage Month. Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo
City of Los Angeles
Department of Cultural Affairs
Defiant Spaces

Organizations Profiled in Defiant Spaces